Professor of Economics Panos Mourdoukoutas recently interviewed Ambrose Conroy on the risk of looming rail strike during union negotiations.
“Can the economy handle a rail strike? The short answer is no.
Almost a third of all freight (by weight) moves by rail in the US. It’s second only to trucking. If there is a rail strike, it is not possible for trucking and other modalities to close the gap. We’ve seen rising freight rates over the last two years. The American Trucking Association claims that their industry is short 78,000 drivers, not to mention trucks. Even if this wasn’t the case, trucks are just not set up to carry the coal, crude and materials that rail can.
The strike would be painful for the economy on all fronts, which is why we see increasing government involvement. Politicians may posture during the negotiations, but if a strike occurs, everyone will be incentivized to get things moving quickly. In the event that President Biden fails to act the rail strike will have an almost immediate impact of the average American in terms of shortages, higher prices and few choices. So we expect he will.” – Ambrose Conroy
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